My Books

Quest for the King

the-story-starts-with-youDo you ever feel like the world is against you? A lone warrior facing unending obstacles in your quest for righteousness and honor? Sometimes it’s true that life is stranger than fiction. And sometimes fiction just seems to reflect the subtle truths of life.

For those of us who love to read fantasy, we can often find ourselves longing to live within the pages of our favorite tale. The wardrobe to Narnia beckons us, the path to Rivendell whispers, and the search for Hogwarts lives on in our child-like hearts. We long to run away with the characters on an adventure of our own to a place where life is more than the mundane, and our purpose is clear.

But we do have an adventure calling to us and the quest we’ve been given comes from the King himself, The Great Lord of all the Land. He leans down to whisper His urgent message in our mortal ears. Who will listen and take up the charge? Who will accept the quest of the King? Will it be you?

Quest for the King is a 60-day devotional written as a fantasy tale. As a devotional, it is the story of each of us, sent on a quest by the King of kings. As a medieval fantasy tale, the story takes us on a journey to find the King’s child. For both, the path is filled with obstacles and enemies. Each day is another step in the journey to find the child, complete with bible verses, reflective questions, and lines for journaling your thoughts.

The story starts with you.

You are summoned to the throne room. The Lord of the Land has a quest just for you. It is a path fraught with danger, but you must choose it of your own free will. You won’t be alone, though. There will be many on your path:

  • The Saint
  • The Prisoner
  • The Guide
  • The Promiser
  • The Liar, and others

Some will be helpers sent by the King. Some will be enemies sent by the beast who will use every weapon in his arsenal to stop you from finding the child. He will even try to steal your soul. Will you find the child before the beast finds you?

Why don’t you open the scroll and take a peek at the summons to start you on your quest?

 

Day One: The Summons

You’re a peasant and your life is a mess. The house is a pigsty–and while the pigs make messes on the floor, you are to blame for the filth on the counters. You don’t have time to wipe them or even to scrub the cauldron. The master of the guild has you working late, and your efforts to learn are unappreciated. He leaves you to menial tasks like delivering messages and sweeping as if you are naught but a slave. It’s discouraging.

You daydream about being a knight in the King’s service. That will never happen, though, because the King only chooses the able and the daring, and you are neither. You can’t battle dragons. You have no sword, no shield, and no training. You have no garments appropriate to even stand before the King, let alone to fight for Him. What would the King want with a peasant like you? You wonder what it would be like to have a mission, to be a warrior who had the King’s eye. You have dreamt about a meaningful life and have cried out in frustration for the lack of it.

As you attempt to tidy, there is a knock at your door. Who would be calling before the rooster crows? You run your fingers through your unkempt hair and pull your wool cloak from the wall, in hopes of looking like you are heading out. If the interloper believes you are leaving, you may escape his judgmental glare into the pit you call a home. You push open the door.

It is a well-dressed man, in fine white linen trimmed in gold cord, and he takes up the entire door frame. There is no chance to sneak past him. He smiles, makes eye contact, and asks for you by name and title. When you mumble in agreement that you are whom he is seeking, he bows until his head passes the plane of his waist. Then he presents you with a scroll made of beautiful parchment, wrapped in a rich burgundy ribbon, and stamped with the seal of the King.

“So glad you are ready to go,” he says. “The King is waiting.” You stare at the scroll for a moment and then look back to the courier, but he is gone as a wisp into the fog. You start to question whether he was real at all or just a figment, but realize you are still holding the King’s sealed words in your hands. Trembling, your fingers break the wax and untie the ribbon. The scroll is a summons to appear before the King. You are to leave everything behind and come at once.

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“…he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

Psalm 40: 1b-2

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As you go about your week, put your cries down own paper. Leave them here on the pages of day one. Know that your Heavenly King hears your cries and will lift you out of the slimy pit.

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Although this project has two contributors, we came into it with one purpose. It has one author page, because we have one love for Christ that we want to share with you!

AJ is a debut author with the publication of Quest for the King. She has a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University and has been writing and editing as an analyst for almost 20 years. She is currently a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is active in both her church and her sons’ Boy Scout troop.

AJ reads non-fiction books on a range of topics to include devotionals and health-related books. She also enjoys the whimsy of young adult fantasy, the depth of myth and lore, and the excitement of magic. She loves the epic struggle between good and evil.

AJ lives in Maryland with her two sons, three dogs and two cats.

AJ’s website is AJBensonAuthor.com.

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Heather has published eight novels including the LIGHT OF LOIAN series, which spent five months at the top of Amazon’s free Christian Fantasy charts, and SOUL TIES, a supernatural young adult series.  Her first novel, A Light in the Darkness, was featured at the Arkansas Literary Festival.

She is the former president of Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas and a current member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. She is an active speaker at conferences and enjoys teaching others about writing tradecraft. Her fantasy novels, for middle grades, teens, and young adults, are exciting adventures filled with quests and new discoveries.

Heather enjoys writing in many genres. She is currently working on a paranormal suspense series and also released a contemporary romance, Loose Ends. From children’s lit to non-fiction, there are few genres she wouldn’t love to explore.

Heather lives in Arkansas with her three teenage children and loving, supportive husband.

Quest for the King is available at your favorite online retailers. Check it out!

writer's life

The Real Me

photo (3)An icy milkshake is just what my sore throat needed this morning. And a bunch of fabulous friends is just what my heart needed after saying goodbye to my sweet friend T last week. I was blown away by all of the Facebook shares and comments I received when I took a leap of faith and shared my heartache with all of you. I am surrounded by such fabulous people who stood together to lift me up when my heart was broken. Thank you for your incredible gift of kindness!

Last week I poured out a bit of my pain and you all took my breath away with your response. It gave me hope that maybe I could be myself after all. Maybe a blog written by a real, live person (flaws and all) is something worth reading. Maybe even preferred? I know my favorite moments with authors have been when I got a glimpse of them as real people with real passions and ideas and questions. So, that is where I’m headed. I hope you’ll be along for the ride. I want to be real with you. I realize that this means I may put my true self out there and you, dear reader, may decide you can’t stand the real me. I hope not. I can fully admit that I want you to like me. No, that’s not true. I want you to adore me. There. I said it. I want us all to be friends and I want you to come over and have dinner. I’ll bake bread and we’ll have tea. I want to hear all about your hopes and dreams and then we’ll stay up late playing cards (I prefer Dominion) and end the night with hugs and smiles and promises of another night soon. THAT is what I wish for as I write this post.

If that’s ever going to happen, then I can no longer hide behind an impersonal persona on this website or in my business life in general. I started out thinking it was best business practice to appeal to as many as possible. So, I tried to focus on what I thought my audience wanted to hear. It wasn’t long before that began to wear on me. It’s hard to keep up a neutral image and really, in the end, quite pointless. I’m a passionate person full of big ideas (those who know me are snickering. I can hear you!) and I want to share those ideas with the world. That’s part of why I’m a writer. But it’s a scary thing to put yourself out there in the world where someone might come along and stomp on your dream right in front of everyone. It took me seven years to tell anyone other than family that I was writing. So, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that I’ve spent my first seven months as a published writer hiding behind a pristine business image and hoping none of you would notice the real me.

So, here it is. Here’s the real me, like it or not:

  • I’m a Christian. I believe in one true God and I worship Him. I go to church several times a week and can’t quite get enough.
  • I love people. I love being with people, I love serving people, I love feeding people. I love people.
  • I am a talker. I have a hard time keeping my thoughts and comments to myself. (And I have the marks on my report cards to prove it!)
  • I love to feed people. I enjoy cooking, but it’s really seeing the smile on someone’s face when I hand them a homemade dish that makes me happy. I especially enjoy cooking for those who are living with true hunger. I want to invite the hungry world to dinner and see them well fed and happy.
  • I care about the homeless and hopeless. I have served in soup kitchens and in shelters. I especially mourn for all of the millions of single moms in America who are trying to raise their babies without living on the streets. This often drives them into desperate situations and it breaks my heart to hear their cries of pain and fear and loneliness as they feel judged and abandoned by the world. This needs to stop. I’m going to do everything in my power to help.
  • I am a homeschooling mom. I love exploring the world with my kids and watching them learn new things. We have a blast and they are growing fast. Soon they’ll leave me behind to explore on their own. Until then, I’m going to soak up every minute I can!
  • I am a writer. I write stories that let you escape this world for just a bit and travel on new adventures with some fabulous people. My characters aren’t terribly flawed, my stories aren’t tragic, and I’m certainly no literary expert. However, I believe this world holds more magic than we suspect and I try to tempt you to wonder about it just a bit as you journey along with a few characters as they discover their own surprising reality. Maybe you’ll find your reality a bit surprising, too.

If any of that makes you think you don’t want to be my friend, then I wish you the best of luck. Thanks for hanging with me this long. I hope your life is fabulous and you pursue your purpose with passion.

If, however, you have reached this sentence and still want to give me a chance… I consider myself blessed. Thank you for showing me kindness and sticking around. I’m not perfect. I’m deeply flawed. But I have a few stories to tell and I would love to share them with you. From here on it, it’s the real me.

Thanks for reading!

~ Heather